Tom Brady’s first foray into Hollywood, a dumb comedy called “80 for Brady,” is much clunkier than he ever was on the football field.
True, the film’s casting is a virtue, and Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sally Field and Rita Moreno light up the screen with their beloved personalities. But putting these legends in a “Hangover”-style girls weekend story needn’t require such schlocky execution.
Running time: 98 minutes. Rated PG-13 (brief strong language, some drug content and some suggestive references.) In theaters.
A scene in which Guy Fieri hosts a spicy BBQ hot wing eating contest that he shouts is “the pain train to Flavortown!” is why the phrase “cutting-room floor” exists.
“Brady,” directed by Kyle Marvin, tries to balance relentless absurdity with being noxiously uplifting. The quartet of women play diehard Patriots fans who began a tradition of watching every Sunday after the channel got stuck on football during a visit with their feisty friend Lou (Tomlin), who was going through chemo. They became obsessed with Brady and, eventually, the game itself.
Three are octogenarians and one, buttoned-up Betty (Field), is 75.
Sultry Trish (Fonda) is the author of Rob Gronkowski erotic fiction, such as her popular “Between Gronk and a Hard Place,” and Maura (Moreno) is a widow and steely poker player.
Guy Fieri hosts a spicy BBQ wing eating contest, which Betty (Sally Field) enters. Scott Garfield/Paramount Picture
One day in 2017, Lou hatches a plan for the ladies to go to Super Bowl LI — the Patriots vs. the Atlanta Falcons — because she sees herself in boundary-breaking Brady.
“If Tom Brady can make it to the Super Bowl, so can we!” she proclaims. “He’s 80 in people years.”
So they enter a local Boston radio contest to win tickets by sharing their unusual fan story, and one way or another make their way to Houston, Texas, for the big game.
The ladies go to extreme lengths to see Tom Brady at the Super Bowl. Scott Garfield/Paramount Picture
Although “Brady” is billed as “inspired by a true story,” almost nothing in the movie actually happened to the real “80 for Brady” club. They didn’t befriend Lady Gaga’s choreographer — here called Gugu (Billy Porter), ugh — and pretend to be half-time show dancers. None of them accidentally winded up in a celebrity poker tournament in a vague suburban mansion. They certainly never met Danny Amendola, Gronk and Brady in the locker room, even though real-life Tom is profiting from a movie based on their likeness.
The ladies didn’t actually go to the Super Bowl.
Jane Fonda, Sally Field, Lily Tomlin and Rita Moreno play four football loving friends in “80 for Brady.” Scott Garfield/Paramount Picture
That extreme departure from reality could be why most of the events of the film are totally unbelievable and, therefore, hard to laugh at or be moved by. The funniest bit is when Moreno eats a pot gummy she assumed was wholesome candy, and gets high for a scene. But, c’mon, we’ve seen that wide-eyed, blurry vision, drug shtick in movies countless times.
“80 for Brady” would be close to worthless were it not for the prodigious talents and chemistry of its marvelous cast.
But, like the footballs of a notorious Brady scandal, by the end I was left deflated.